I discuss a stochastic model of language learning and change. During a syntactic change, each speaker makes use of constructions from two different idealized grammars at variable rates. The model incorporates regularization in that speakers have a slight preference for using the dominant idealized grammar. It also includes incrementation: The population is divided into two interacting generations. Children can detect correlations between age and speech. They then predict where the population’s language is moving and speak according to that prediction, which represents a social force encouraging children not to sound out-dated. Both regularization and incrementation turn out to be necessary for spontaneous language change to occur on a reasonable time scale and run to completion monotonically. Chance correlation between age and speech may be amplified by these social forces, eventually leading to a syntactic change through prediction-driven instability
Keywords Language variation  Language change  Incrementation  Mathematical model  Social structure  Prediction-driven instability
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10849-011-9136-y
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 58,744
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

A Model of Non-Informational Preference Change.Franz Dietrich & Christian List - 2011 - Journal of Theoretical Politics 23 (2):145-164.
Evolutionary Consequences of Language Learning.Partha Niyogi & Robert C. Berwick - 1997 - Linguistics and Philosophy 20 (6):697-719.
Grammar as a Developmental Phenomenon.Guy Dove - 2012 - Biology and Philosophy 27 (5):615-637.
Moments of Change.Greg Littmann - 2012 - Acta Analytica 27 (1):29-44.
Dynamic Beliefs and the Passage of Time.Darren Bradley - 2013 - In A. Capone & N. Feit (eds.), Attitudes De Se. University of Chicago.
How Social Movements Generate New, Profit-Driven Organizational Forms.Linda Markowitz, Céline Louche & Jean-Pascal Gond - 2008 - Proceedings of the International Association for Business and Society 19:246-255.
Moderate Holism and the Instability Thesis.Henry Jackman - 1999 - American Philosophical Quarterly 36 (4):361-69.
The Problem of Change.Ryan Wasserman - 2006 - Philosophy Compass 1 (1):48–57.


Added to PP index

Total views
29 ( #364,142 of 2,425,258 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #547,705 of 2,425,258 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes